Although this picture book provides a necessary message of acceptance and representation for transgender boys, the narrative...

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JACK (NOT JACKIE)

A big sister learns a lesson about loving her transgender brother for who he is.

Susan dreams of playing forest fairies and explorers with a little sister. She loves to hear her baby sibling giggle. However, as the baby grows up, Susan struggles to accept their differences in self-expression. Despite their mother’s gentle admonition to let her sibling be, Susan thinks it’s wrong that the person she sees as a sister wants to wear clothes from the boys’ section. After her sibling asks for a short haircut, she feels betrayed when Jack (not Jackie) tells the family he’s Susan’s brother. Remembering how much she loved Jack as a baby helps Susan accept the new transition. Narrated in first person, the story focuses on the feelings of the cisgender sister of a transgender boy. For most of the text, Susan calls her brother “Jackie” and uses she/her pronouns to refer to him. While Susan struggles, their mother offers refreshing acceptance throughout the story with reassurances such as “We wear what feels right.” The characters adhere to gender stereotypes, but the author’s note offers a less binary discussion of gender identity. Illustrations that combine digital line drawing and realistic textures accompany the text and depict Susan, Jack, and their parents as white.

Although this picture book provides a necessary message of acceptance and representation for transgender boys, the narrative remains rooted in a cisgender perspective. (further reading) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0731-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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